Massa fastest on day 3 morning session – Jerez

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Felipe Massa set the pace on the third morning of testing at Jerez as Ferrari let loose with its F138 for the first time this week.

Massa has spent the majority of the week completing aero work, but on Thursday bolted on a set of soft tyres and set a 1:17.879, beating Romain Grosjean’s best effort from Wednesday. It was Massa’s third consecutive day in the car but he showed few signs of fatigue as he completed a healthy 48 laps over the course of the morning.

Massa’s nearest rival was Nico Rosberg who set about making up for lost time in the Mercedes after its issues this week. On Tuesday his test day was limited to 14 laps by a wiring loom fault and on Wednesday team-mate Lewis Hamilton crashed out after a suffering a loss of rear brake pressure. However, by 13:00 on Thursday Rosberg had completed an impressive 69 laps with a best time of 1:19.004.

Third fastest was James Rossiter who completed a full morning in the Force India after a brief outing in the final hour of testing on Wednesday. As the team’s simulator driver, Rossiter is completing mileage this week in order to improve his understanding of this year’s VJM06 before handing the car back to Paul di Resta in the afternoon. During his morning session he misjudged his braking coming back to the pits and hit one of his pit crew, but fortunately the mechanic escaped serious injury with nothing more than a few bruises.

Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest on his first return to the cockpit this year, setting a 1:19.539 just before lunch. He spent most of the morning getting comfortable in the new car and completing aero tests before he started to clock flying laps. By 13:00 he had only managed 19 laps but was out on track at the time and continuing to rack up his mileage.

Jenson Button was back in the cockpit of the McLaren for the second time this week and finished the morning fifth fastest with a 1:19.603, just ahead of Sebastian Vettel. The reigning world champion got his first taste of the new Red Bull and had a productive morning, completing 41 laps with a best time of 1:19.676.

Jean Eric Vergne was seventh fastest ahead of Sauber’s new rookie Esteban Gutierrez who completed an impressive 61 laps on his first morning in his new job. Valtteri Bottas was another rookie in action and he also got straight down to work, completing 58 laps between 09:00 and 13:00. As with Pastor Maldonado earlier in the week, Bottas was driving last year’s Williams FW34 and by his lunch break had a best time of 1:21.578.

Marussia and Caterham were again at the bottom of the timesheets with Max Chilton back in the cockpit for the first time since his accident on Tuesday. He completed 27 laps with a best time of 1:23.938 ahead of ex-Marussia driver Charles Pic who started his first day in the new Caterham. However, Pic stopped on track with a technical issue in the morning and completed just 28 laps by 13:00.

Times at 13:00

Driver Car Best time Laps
1. Felipe Massa Ferrari F138 1:17.879 48
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes W04 1:19.004 69
3. James Rossiter Force India VJM06 1:19.303 32
4. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E21 1:19.539 19
5. Jenson Button McLaren MP4-28 1:19.539 27
6. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull RB9 1:19.676 41
7. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso STR8 1:19.707 46
8. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber C32 1:19.995 61
9. Valtteri Bottas Williams FW34 1:21.578 58
10. Max Chilton Marussia MR02 1:23.938 27
11. Charles Pic Caterham CT03 1:25.365 28

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Red Bull – “No car will dominate in 2013”.

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Red Bull thinks it unlikely that a single Formula 1 team will dominate this season, as it expects a repeat of last year’s fluctuating form.

After a 2012 campaign when Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Ferrari enjoyed periods of pacesetting speed, early testing form is already pointing towards a similarly close battle at the front of the field.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that there will be a repeat situation in 2013, with the form book being shuffled around at different tracks.

“I think it will be a case of different circuits suiting different cars,” explained Horner. “Last year the significant blown diffuser change had a large impact on our early season performance.

“As a team we optimised our performances where our car was sub-optimal, focussed on developing the car and, when we got the opportunity, we grabbed it with both hands and delivered when it mattered.

“I think this season coming will be another where it will to and fro; there are four or five teams capable of winning and it will be down to teams and drivers to do the most consistent job from race one to 19.

“On days you can’t win, the third, fourth, and fifth places become so important. You have to make sure you get the maximum possible from each weekend.”

Christian HornerRed Bull is chasing a fourth consecutive world championship double this season, and Horner says there is no sense of his outfit nor Sebastian Vettel getting complacent about what it will take to continue the streak.

“The last three years have been phenomenal,” he said. “To win six world championships within three years is something quite remarkable.

“There’s only three other teams to have won three consecutive constructors’ titles in Formula 1 history, so we’re extremely motivated to try and retain both those titles. And we’ll do our best to try and achieve that.

“But we’d be foolish to sit here and underestimate the calibre of our opponents, both drivers and teams. Both 2010 and last year went down to the wire, and I’m sure this year will be a very close and tough season.”

http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/105469

2014 F1 regulations will be “a tsunami”.

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Lotus technical director James Allison says the 2009 regulation changes were relatively straightforward compared to the challenge awaiting the teams when F1 switches to V6 turbos in 2014.

Next year the sport will ditch the naturally-aspirated V8s it has been using since 2006 in order to bring in the new engine formula, forcing teams to completely rethink their cars in the process. The last major regulation change was in 2009 when aero regulations changed to limit downforce and aid overtaking, but Allison said that was nothing compared to next year’s changes.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “2009 changes were a ripple compared with the tsunami of 2014.”

Most teams have set up two separate technical groups with one working on the 2013 cars and one on the 2014 cars. Allison said Lotus has had people dedicated to 2014 for several years now.

“The 2014 work started in 2011, and a long time ago in 2011 not at the end of 2011. The rules have evolved a bit since then as well so to some extent you have to change which way the rules are going. But most of the way the 2014 championship will be was laid out some time ago and you deal with a huge change like that by not leaving it to the last minute before you think about it.”

The engines are currently in the last phases of development, but if the regulations remain unaltered they will only have three weeks of testing ahead of next season. Nevertheless, Allison believes that will be enough to make the cars reliable and extra testing would only benefit teams seeking more performance.

“From a performance point of view it’s anyone’s guess because there is a big, big change and I’m sure there will be some reshuffling of the pack competitiveness wise, but from a reliability point of view and whether you can be ready in three tests? Well, dynos are quite good at telling you whether engines are reliable and they are quite good at telling you whether gearboxes are reliable. Really the only open point will be whether you can produce a car with enough cooling, that’s a fair challenge in 2014. But wind tunnels aren’t bad either so most of the things to get the car on the ground and make it work are there, the testing would be about performance.”

From ESPN.

Sergio talks about his ‘new office’.

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Sergio Perez was in buoyant mood after his first ever outing in a McLaren at Jerez today.

The Mexican finished the day a modest seventh overall after running 81 laps, but it was all about learning about the car and team, and getting himself comfortable.

In fact Perez wasn’t entirely happy with his seating position, although overall he was delighted with progress.

“It was a very good day in terms of getting into the new office,” he said. “It’s much more different than I expected, just by feeling, by sitting in a different seat it’s so much different that you have to adapt yourself to a different position, different way to hold the steering wheel. Pretty much everything is different from the pedals to the steering wheel, everything is different, so it’s pretty much starting from zero.

“But I think we’re going in the right direction. I’m more happy than I was expecting today, so I think we are definitely going in the right direction. I still need to sort out some things with my seat, with my cockpit, to be a little bit more comfortable.

“It’s not a particular place, it’s pretty much a bit everywhere. I think we’ve got to change some stuff to make it feel more comfortable.”

He was happy with his initial impressions of the car: “I think the feedback is good straight away, since I drove it out of the garage and doing the first laps I knew that this car has good potential.

“We don’t know how competitive we are at all. All I can say is the car feels quite good. We got a lot of work to do in the next five days that we have [in Jerez and Barcelona], and keep our heads on because I think we’re going in the right direction.

“Today was a great day because we managed to do some good programmes, hopefully we can keep doing the same in the next five days and we will be in good shape for the start of the season.”

 

Grosjean leads the way in Jerez.

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Romain Grosjean set a new benchmark time during the second morning of testing at Jerez, while Mercedes faces another headache after the second problem with its new car in as many days.

Lewis Hamilton hit the barriers after just 15 laps when his Mercedes suffered a loss of rear brake pressure caused by a problem with the hydraulic brake line connecting to the right rear. He managed to lock up his front wheels to slow down ahead of the gravel trap before skating over the gravel and into the barrier. The impact also caused damage to the car’s nose, front wing and suspension with the team unable to say when he would rejoin the action.

Meanwhile, Grosjean beat Jenson Button’s fastest time from Tuesday’s test session, lowering the target to a 1:18.828 before the teams stopped briefly for lunch at 13:00. Paul di Resta was second fastest with a 1:19.003, ahead of Daniel Ricciardo in the Toro Rosso on a 1:19.134.

Ricciardo caused a red flag earlier in the session when his car stopped on track, before Luiz Razia, who jumped in the car just one hour after being announced as a 2013 driver, caused another red flag when he stopped on the pit straight.

Mark Webber improved on his Tuesday time by setting a 1:19.338 for fourth fastest ahead of Nico Hulkenberg in fifth. Hamilton’s time just before his crash was good enough for sixth fastest – a 1:19.519. The man replacing him at McLaren, Sergio Perez completed 38 laps in total and set the seventh fastest time, with a best effort 0.744s off Grosjean.

Felipe Massa was roughly a second off the top of the timesheets with the eighth fastest time ahead of Giedo van der Garde in the Caterham, 3.088s off Grosjean, and Razia who was 4.709s off the top. Pastor Maldonado completed just seven laps in the updated 2012 Williams with a best time of 1:27.124.

Times at 13:00

Driver Car Best time Laps
1. Romain Grosjean Lotus E21 1:18.828 45
2. Paul di Resta Force India VJM06 1:19.003 59
3. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1:19.124 41
4. Mark Webber Red Bull RB9 1:19.338 46
5. Nico Hulkenberg Sauber C32 1:19.502 40
6. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes W04 1:19.519 15
7. Sergio Perez McLaren MP4-28 1:19.572 38
8. Felipe Massa Ferrari F138 1:19.914 33
9. Giedo van der Garde Caterham CT03 1:21.916 37
10. Luiz Razia Marussia MR02 1:23.537 31
11. Pastor Maldonado Williams FW34 1:27.124 7

Jerez – Testing – Day One

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Typically chilly conditions greeted the paddock for the first test of the year in southern Spain on Tuesday, with Marussia and Caterham’s car presentations preceding the eagerly anticipated occasion. Ignoring the weather, all eleven drivers were quick to venture out onto the circuit and set about completing their extensive pre-Melbourne programmes.

Despite his pace-setting time, Button did not have it all his own way on Tuesday. A fuel-pump issue, which also caused problems for McLaren in 2012, presented itself just three laps into the MP4-28’s first fully-fledged run. This brought out the first red flag of the day and left Button stuck in his pit garage until the afternoon session.

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Nico Rosberg was quick to stamp his authority on the field after Button’s failure, but a section of bodywork at the rear of the new F1 W04 burst into flames and scuppered his plans for the rest of the day. The German caused the second stoppage at 10am local time (GMT +1), before Mercedes ended its day early to work on a wiring loom fix.

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As the day wore on, Rosberg slipped down the order to eighth, with Paul di Resta, Daniel Ricciardo, Felipe Massa and Nico Hülkenberg all enjoying trouble-free days to lock-out fourth to seventh positions. Pastor Maldonado wound up ninth after his tyre-orientated day, completing 84 laps at the wheel of the Williams FW34. The Venezuelan and team-mate Valtteri Bottas will have to wait until the second test to drive their new car, but the outfit did at least reveal its 2013 livery at Jerez.

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Giedo van der Garde finished just over three seconds behind Button’s MP4-28 en route to tenth, while Britain’s Max Chilton suffered a suspension failure at the wheel of Marussia’s MR02 to bring out the third and final red flag of the day, leaving him 11th.

Ecclestone confirms 19 race calendar.

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Formula 1 will stick to 19 races this season after failing to find a replacement for New Jersey, supremo Bernie Ecclestone says.

Ecclestone and the FIA had reshuffled the calendar in a bid to slot in a 20th race on July 21, but despite talks with Turkey, Austria and Portugal no deal could be reached.

Although there remains time to sort out an extra event, Ecclestone said on Tuesday that he was now resigned to not holding a 20th race.

“The calendar has been formed already, it’s too late,” he told Dubai’s The National newspaper at an announcement for a new five-year global sponsorship deal between F1 and Emirates airline.

He added: “[I am] disappointed that it didn’t happen before; we can’t suddenly slot it in.”

F1’s tie-up with Emirates has prompted talk that Dubai could be in the running to hold a race, but Ecclestone has ruled that out because the Middle East is already well represented with Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

“We support races that we think are good for F1, wherever they may be,” he said.

“We have a restriction for 20 races and we already have two in this area, so it would be difficult to pop another one in.”